F/L/OSS is Central to ICT Innovation

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The spirit of free/open-source development has from the begining been well in line with that of academic research: freedom in software distribution is similar to freedom in dissemination of scientific …

The spirit of free/open-source development has from the begining been well in line with that of academic research: freedom in software distribution is similar to freedom in dissemination of scientific knowledge. Now that F/OSS hit the business world, new questions arised on the possibility to run sustainable business models based on F/OSS - the question of innovation being a central part of the answer. This presentation will discuss the relationships between: the open-source development process; open innovation in sowftare; academic research; its funding and industrial valorization; and public policies for the information society.

Talk delivered at fOSSa (Free/Open Source Software & Academia conference) 2009

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  • Dans le contexte économique actuel, l'innovation est une préoccupation centrale de l'industrie informatique. Mais alors que les uns voient dans le logiciel libre / open source une concrétisation de modes d'innovation collectifs, d'autres n'y voient que le fait de suiveurs justes bons à développer des versions bas de gamme des standards de fait. Alors, le libre : innovant, oui ou non ? Ces questions sont importantes pour établir une stratégie libre / open source d'entreprise, la vendre en interne et finalement sélectionner projets, communautés et prestataires pour l'exécuter. Cette présentation donne d'abord quelques éléments de politique publique qui tendent à démontrer que le sujet est d'un brûlante actualité. Puis, elle replace le logiciel dans le contexte des biens informationnels, dont la production obéit à une loi de rendements croissants et tend à mettre en défaut certaines conceptions naïves sur l'économie de marché. Dans ce contexte, des schémas de valorisation de l'innovation basés sur une sur-protection de la propriété intellectuelle pourraient trouver leurs limites. S'intéressant aux mécanismes d'innovation ouverte, la présentation reformule la question initiale de trois manières : les projets libres peuvent-ils être des réceptacles d'innovation ? Sont-ils le fruit d'un mode innovant de développement ? Sont-ils des catalyseurs d'une innovation survenant ailleurs ? Des éléments de réponse sont présentés sur la base de cas concrets autour de modèles économiques variés.
  • OW2 provides A Common Platform Shared by Developers and Users. OW2 facilitates interaction between open source code Producers and open source code Consumers. OW2 does not sell products or services, does not compete with its members.


  • 1. F/L/OSS is Central to ICT Innovation F. LETELLIER fOSSa Free/OSS & Academia Conference Grenoble, 2009
  • 2. Who am I ?
    • In the software industry for 20 years
    • 3. In F/L/OSS since mid-90's
    • 4. One of the first individual members in ObjectWeb
    • 5. INRIA 2003-2007, ObjectWeb E.D.
    • 6. OW2 board member, ELC member, fOSSa SC
    • 7. Freelance consultant on F/L/OSS strategy
  • 8. Source: Innovativeness of open source software projects, K. Klincewicz 2005
  • 9. About 10%-15% F/L/OSS projects are innovative The % is comparable in the proprietary software industry
  • 10. Patents and the Regress of Usefull Arts, A. W. Torrance & B. Tomlinson, The Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, Volume X, 2009
  • 11. “Innovation is a driver of economic growth , productivity, job creation and rising living standards . Innovation also promotes ICT competitiveness; in turn, competition leads to better products, improved consumer choice and, ideally, greater ICT uptake .” Source: European Task-Force on ICT Sector competitiveness & ICT uptake, WG on innovation in R&D, manufacturing and services http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/ict/policy/taskforce/wg/wg3_report.pdf
  • 12. input output structure
    • # researchers
    • 15. # start-ups
    • R&D expenditure
  • 16. Source: European Commission, “Towards a European Research Area, Key Figures 2001 – Special edition: Indicators for benchmarking of national research policies”
  • 17.
    • Hobbyists, part-time contributors
    • 18. Volunteers or transparent efforts
    • 19. Anonymous (collective)
    • 20. Incremental
    • 21. Free (gratis), Free (open)
    F/L/OSS = Software Innovation Dark Matter ?
  • 22. The finger pointing to the Moon is not the Moon
  • 23. FLOSS potentially saves the industry 36%+ in software R&D investment that can result in increased profits or be more usefully spent in further innovation Study on the economic impact of OSS on innovation and the competitiveness os the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector in the EU, 2006, UNU-MERIT, NL
  • 24.  
  • 25. TELOSYS AJAX FRAMEWORK TELOCIM Relational Technology Inc. / Ingres Corp. ASK Corp. 2003 2006 <1980 2004 2004 1994 1990 1980
  • 26.  
  • 27.
    • Make firm boundaries more permeable to innovation
    • Innovation intermediaries
    • Partnerships between the scientific community and firms
  • 28. According to a protocol: the license Sell hw/sw complements Sell substitutes Offers services Uses in production process Uses at home/soho Develops with taxpayers money Contributes as a hobby Shares R&D on non core-business Builds on other works Transfers research results Worldwide F/L/OSS Code Base “ publish ” “ subscribe ” Research Lab Company XYZ Public Administration Company XYZ Company XYZ
  • 29. Geeky talk... F/L/OSS is an innovation “bus” for our Information Society
  • 30. The existing base of quality FLOSS applications would cost firms about 12 Billion Euros to reproduce internally This code base has been doubling every 18-24 over the past 8 years and this growth is projected to continue for several more years Study on the economic impact of OSS on innovation and the competitiveness os the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector in the EU, 2006, UNU-MERIT, NL
  • 31. “ The Power of Collaborative Innovation is the answer to all the big global challenges we are facing” Tony Blair World Economic Forum Davos, January 2008
  • 32.  
  • 33. A Few OW Java Projects Tribe (group comm.) Fractal (component mod) Sync4j (mobile sync.) SpagoBI (business intelligence) eXo Platform (portal & CMS) Bonita, Shark (workflow) XWiki (wiki, blogs) JOnAS / PKUAS (J2EE appserv) Celtix / Petals (ESB, JBI) JAC (AOP) Speedo (JDO persist.) C-JDBC (RDBMS clust.) ProActive (Grid) XQuare (XML rewriting) OPS (XML / AJAX) ASM (codebyte man.) Eclipse Web TP Eclipse SOA TP Octopus (ETL) EasyBeans (EJB Container) Telosys (AJAX) JOTM / ISTx (transactions) JORAM (JMS, MOM) XService (SOA / WS) Enhydra (Java / XML APS) Orchestra (BPM / Orchestrat.) Lomboz J2EE dev.
  • 34. A Business Ecosystem Platform The OW2 Value Proposal
    • Technical Services
      • Forge
      • 35. Mailing lists, Wiki, etc.
    • Community Services
      • Governance framework
      • 36. Activities
    • Marketing Services
      • Projects promotion
      • 37. Brand and awareness
    Producers Users Use / Integrate Feed-back Re-use Contribute Academia Individuals Companies Government Systems Integrators Software Vendors
  • 38. « Open source projects involve norms of proprietariness that create conditions for innovation - they are institutions that facilitate innovation, just as the guilds were  » Source: «  From Medieval Guilds to Open Source Software: Informal Norms, Appropriability Institutions, and Innovation,  » Pr. Robert P. Merges, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Nov 13, 2004
  • 39. Individuals Associations of Individuals Associations of Companies
  • 40. “ There's no business model for F/L/OSS!”
  • 41. Buy Get F/L/OSS Substitute Complement Superset Build Sell Bespoke development Hardware Subscription Proprietary Outsourcing Use Migrate Legacy Freeware Externally funded venture Contribute Lead Patronize In-house Refactoring Customize Integration Mutualize Dual license Service Open Core Software publishing SaaS Embedded VAR
  • 42. By 2012... 80% of all commercial software will include OSS elements Source: Gartner Key Predictions for IT Organisations and Users in 2008 and Beyond, January 2008
  • 43. 2010 Mainstream IT shops will consider open source for 80% of their infrastructure software needs Mainstream IT shops will consider open source for 25% of their business software needs Source: Mark Driver, Gartner Research VP, The Gartner Application Development Summit, Sept 2005
  • 44. Innovation &Technology from Academia & Gov’t Share R&D Efforts
      • Faster technology transfer
      • 45. Gather real world needs
      • 46. Complement of activity in standardization bodies
    Place of Research in the Innovation Ecosystem
      • Trust and professionalism
      • 47. Virtuous cycle between fundamental research and industrial applications
      • 48. Global outreach
    EC & France Funded R&D Projects
      • RNRT Corsica, ITEA Pepita, RNRT Parol, RNTL Impact, ITEA Osmose, IST Mocca, Asia ITC COSGov, ITEA S4All
    ActiveXML Carol C-JDBC CLIF JORAM Fractal Rubis ProActive …
  • 49. F/L/OSS & Academia Promote FLOSS code production & community growth as performance metrics in your lab Participate in public funded projects with FLOSS dissemination strategies Set up partnerships with FLOSS savvy industrial players
  • 50. The history of F/OSS can be traced back to academic origins: distributing source code under a permissive license was the de facto rule in academia in the 70's. Since then, F/OSS became a wide spread paradigm throughout the software industry, and its alignment with academic goals tended to be forgotten. According to fOSSa steering committee members, software innovation is a value creation process that needs a new joint collaboration of industries, academia and F/OSS experts.
  • 51. Take aways...
    • Innovation happens in and on F/L/OSS
    • 52. F/L/OSS communities are innovation intermediaries
    • 53. Companies fund and leverage F/L/OSS based innovations
    • F/L/OSS brings new degrees of liberty in public and private funding for ICT R&D
  • 54. Thank you for your attention! FLOSS Strategy - www.flet.fr OW2 - www.ow2.org Green IT - www.greenit.fr And make sure to enjoy sunny Grenoble!